November starts NaNoWriMo- a month of writing in November. Writers commit to 2,000 words a day. I have signed up in HOPES that this will kick off my memoir.
As a teaser, here are the first 1,000 words:
I know it in my bones.
I know something is wrong. I feel it
in my hips, my tibia, my fibia, my femur.
But my bones lie. They carry me
forward when my heart palpitates, when my breath increases, when my tummy
rumbles, when I pee my pants…..none of that matters….my bones carry me forward.
Perhaps if I had knew how my life would
change, I would stop for a moment. Hold a moment of reflection at the door.
Notice the blue of the sky or the wisp of the clouds. Take one last breath,
inhaled the fresh air.
But the wind was bitter. Stupid blue
sky and January wind.
It tears through my coat and her
tiny face grimaces against the chill. The air is not fresh but full of
cigarettes and fear. The snow piles in dirty mounds against the walkway.
And despite the inconsistent beating
of my heart and the bile that collects against my throat, my bones carry my
daughter and walk through the door.
Inside isnt any better; florescent
lights, tile floors, industrial cleaner, hand sanitizer, couch, television,
The doors close behind me and the
people on the other side of the desk looked up.
I smiled and glance at the T.V.
Who’s the Boss, have I seen this one? Is this the one where Tony and Angela
kiss? That was a good one.
“May I help you?”
The woman behind the desk nodded in
my direction, “Can I help you?”
“I think my daughter is really sick,”
My legs carry me to her desk. She eyes a monitor.
She nods and continued to types.
“Why are you here?”
Well that’s a loaded question lady,
I want to say. Instead, I swallow hard, asking my stomach to cooperate. “I
think she is really sick. She doesn’t take a bottle and when she does she
throws it up. She doesn’t sleep. She doesn’t hold her head.”
My head fell to my hands, “I don’t
know what to do.”
I develop a disdain for this woman.
“Wait over there, we will call you.”
My jaw forms into a smile. My hand
grips the handle of the baby carrier and my legs carry me to the waiting room.
I sit and gaze at the bundle in the
car seat; she is perfect and broken, feverish and beautiful, all wrapped up in
pink pajamas with dancing sheep. I touch her cheek with my pinky.
Hubs is suddenly
by my side. When did he get here? He takes the baby carrier from my hand. My hand
is empty. My bones ache.
“Don’t touch anything,” he said
glancing around. “Who knows what this place is crawling with. Do you have the
I hate all of this. I hate the nurse
at the front desk. I hate Tony and Angela deciding if they should kiss. I hate the
way the polyester feels on my butt. I hate everything about this situation.
I look with a stewing gaze for more
things to hate.
EXIT states the sign to my left. Oh you
Exit sign. You tease. How smug you are, signaling a door where you can walk
out. You advertise on high. You can leave here. You can walk out. But it will
cost you your soul.
What is the price of my soul? What
is the cost to leave?
I can bolt.
I can leave.
We can all leave.
Maybe it was a mistake to come here.
We can get in the car and drive home. Stop at the drugstore for Baby Tylenol
I have always overreacted.
I’m sure I am overreacting.
I stand between the EXIT and
EMERGENCY. Between the howl of the wind outside and the stagnant air inside; my
empty hand searching for the weight of the baby carrier wondering who’s life
this could possibly be.
In truth, my reality is between the
signs. My daughter is sick. She is so very sick and I know it. Beneath layers
of fleecy blankets and pink pajamas with dancing sheep is my sweet babe whose
pink rosy skin has turned grey and whose blue eyes are sunken.
I turn my back from the exit and
reach for the purel.
Hubs squirts a generous amount and
wipes it on his hands and face. He squirts more and swabs down the car seat,
diaper bag, our feverish daughter.
“That’s not good for her immune
system,” I say
He shoots me a look. We should not
I sit on the edge of the waiting
is that smell?
I glance at my fellow couch-mates
with a discerning, critical eye; judging their hygiene habits and realize that
smell is me.
My god I stink. I really smell; the
smell of fear and body odor. I can no longer hide what my life has become.
What a façade. Yesterday we were in
Beaver Creek skiing. We left early because Samantha looked so bad. In
desperation I smeared deodorant on my pits, gargled last night’s wine with a
little Scope. Smeared a little make up under my eyes.
If you look okay, she will be okay
Cover up covers up everything.
Foundation will strengthen our
As long as my lipstick is refreshed,
everything will be okay.
Hubs hands me a Power Bar. “You
should eat something.”
I hate Power Bars. I hate everything
about them. The chewy texture. The taste that is almost something you recognize
but not really. Is that chocolate I taste? No its ass. Even the gold packaging.
I hate it all.
I’m not hungry.
I want a coffee. Where’s the coffee
machine? This is a hospital. Hospitals run on coffee. Screw coffee I need a
I nervously start to rock and bite
my fingernails. Hubs takes my hand from my mouth. “This is a hospital.”
I don’t care. Let me be infested
with hand, foot and mouth disease, Swine flu, hippo virus, bird flu. I would lick the floor……just let my daughter
“Schichtel? Samantha Schichtel?” The
“That was fast.” I said to my husband.
“Good insurance,” He mumbles. We
hurry past the others who were waiting before us. I try not to meet their eyes.
We file into a small room with a
nurse and a computer.
“So, what’s going on with Samantha?”